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Title: Thionation of a Fluorescent Thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidine Derivative for the Development of a Heavy-Atom-Free Photosensitizer
All-organic, heavy-atom-free photosensitizers based on thionation of nucleobases are receiving increased attention because they are easy to make, noncytotoxic, work both in the presence and absence of molecular oxygen and can be readily incorporated into DNA and RNA. In this contribution, the DNA and RNA fluorescent probe, thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4(1H)-one, has been thionated to develop thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4(1H)-thione, which is nonfluorescent and absorbs near-visible radiation with about 60% higher efficiency. Steady-state absorption and emission spectra are combined with transient absorption spectroscopy and CASPT2 calculations to delineate the electronic relaxation mechanisms of both pyrimidine derivatives in aqueous and acetonitrile solutions and to explain the origin of the remarkable fluorescence quenching in the thionated compound. It is demonstrated that thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4(1H)-thione efficiently populates the long-lived and reactive triplet state in hundreds of femtoseconds independent of solvent. Conversely, fluorescence emission in thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4(1H)-one is highly sensitive to solvent, with an order of magnitude decrease in fluorescence yield in going from aqueous to acetonitrile solution. Collectively, the experimental and computational results demonstrate that thieno[3,4-d]pyrimidine-4(1H)-thione stands out as the most promising thiopyrimidine photosensitizer developed to this date, which can be readily incorporated as a photodynamic agent into sequence-specific DNA and RNA sequences for the treatment of skin cancer cells.
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